Category Archives: Front Page

“You can call me Al”

Get to know your friendly neighborhood swiper

Anya Cohen

Features Editor

A bastion of our Lowry meal experiences, Al Conrad has been swiping students into Lowry since before any of us were even considering applying to Wooster.

Cohen: How long have you been working here?

Al: I’m in my eleventh year.

Cohen: Are you from Ohio originally?

Al: Yes, I’m from Ashland. I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life except for the three years that I was in the military.

Cohen: When were you in the military?

Al: I was in the military during the Vietnam era but I was fortunate enough to be stationed in Germany. That’s not to say that I couldn’t have had my records pulled to go [to Vietnam]. By the grace of God I didn’t have my records pulled. I was fortunate enough to stay right there in Frankfurt.

Cohen: What were you doing before you came to work at Wooster?

Al: In my first career I was in banking and then there was a gap when I tried to do several other things. I happened to know somebody here, made a phone call and then, to make a long story short, I got hired. Timing is everything. I made the phone call on a Monday and on Friday I was hired.

Cohen: What’s the best job that you’ve ever had?

Al: I would have to say my job here on campus. It’s been very rewarding. If you can’t have fun on your job it may not be worth it. I love what I do.

Cohen: Do you feel as though you are able to successfully create relationships with students that you interact with?

Al: Yes I do, I make it a point to interact with the students. I love working, not only with my coworkers but also with the students that I make contact with.

Cohen: Do you see yourself staying at Wooster for the foreseeable future?

Al: I kind of figured that was going to come up. As long as my health continues to be as good as it is and has been, I really don’t see anything coming along that would call for my departure. So I will be here for a while.

Cohen: What are your hobbies and interests?

Al: For quite some time I was into photography. I was on the photo staff with my high school yearbook. As of right now, the only thing that I’m really pursuing — and this might sound kind of silly to some — but for the last 18 months I have been collecting old glass milk bottles from all over the area. I focus primarily on Ashland county, Wayne county, and I’ve gotten into Holmes county. That’s my strong focus right now. It has become almost an obsession.

Cohen: How many milk bottles do you have at this point?

Al: In my collection, I am pushing 300. I have them conveniently spaced around my apartment. About the time they start to squeeze me out will be the time I’ll have to come up with something else. They are all over the place.

Cohen: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Al: I think I have to preface that by saying that I consider The College of Wooster to be my home away from home. I have an older brother who I get together with a couple times a month. We get in the car and wherever we decide to go, we go. So we go on little road trips. He and I both like to snoop around antique shops. He’s got his interests, I’ve got mine, and together we help each other look for these different things.

Cohen: Do you have a favorite movie, TV show, music?

Al: Hopefully I won’t offend anybody by saying this, regarding your question about music. I like all kinds of music, but I draw the line at opera and rap. You can tell by [points to grey hair] that rap is not what I grew up with. As far as favorite TV shows, my all time favorite is Laugh-In, a one hour comedy show that Goldie Hawn starred in. But as for current TV shows, I am into Castle and The Big Bang Theory.

Cohen: What’s something on your bucket list?

Al: I would love to go back to where I was stationed in Frankfurt. And I would love to take a cruise somewhere warm. But, in light of the recent Italian cruise liner that tried to sink. I should say that I would want a cruise ship that doesn’t sink.

Cohen: If you could study anything at The College of Wooster, what would it be?

Al: I would focus on communications. I’d never been to college at all. At one point, I got to know a visiting communication professor here very well who told me that I really ought to think about taking classes. I gave it some thought and decided to take his Communication 111 course. Having never been in a college classroom setting before, I got cold feet. I ended up asking him if I could take the class for audit purposes and he told me that if I was going to be in a class with him for 16 weeks, that I may as well be getting credit for it. So I did, and I passed the course. When I got into it, I told myself “just get a passing grade.” After the class ended I hadn’t heard from the professor so I called the registrar’s office to ask for my grade. They told me that I got an A- and I couldn’t believe it. I was just amazed by myself. I don’t know how to say it, but that would be what I’m the most proud of, that I finished a college level course.

Cohen: Would you ever consider taking another class?

Al: With my work schedule I’d only be able to take one class per semester. Doing the math, It would probably take me about 13 years to have enough credits to graduate. It’s never too late. I just don’t know, at this point in my life, if I’ll pursue it or not.

College mourns the passing of Bettye Jo Mastrine

College mourns the passing of Bettye Jo Mastrine

John P. Finn

Director of Public Information

A rare combination of wit and wisdom defined the life of Bettye Jo Mastrine, who brought clarity, stability and efficiency to the College’s highest administrative office during her remarkable tenure as executive assistant to the president. She had a unique ability to manage multiple tasks and diffuse stressful situations with her dry sense of humor and her deep but cheerful laugh that resonated daily throughout Galpin Hall.

Born in Boone, N.C., Bettye Jo earned an associate’s degree at Lees-McRae Junior College in Banner Elk, N.C., in 1969. She moved to Wayne County in 1978 and joined the Wooster Family in 1979 as a member of the secretarial services department. Three years later, she became secretary to the dean of admissions, and in 1984 she moved to the president’s office, where she remained for the next 27 years, serving three college presidents: Henry J. Copeland from 1984 to 1996, R. Stanton Hales from 1995 to 2007, and Grant H. Cornwell from 2007 until her death.


“Bettye Jo was a consummate professional as executive assistant to the president and a vital part of this college’s life for more than 30 years, serving three presidents with skill, dedication, discretion, and not least, humor,” said President Cornwell. “She loved this special place and its people, and we, in turn, loved her. As a newcomer to both The College of Wooster and the presidency, I learned a tremendous amount from Bettye Jo, for which I will always be grateful. I will miss her greatly.”

A dedicated employee and a loyal colleague, Bettye Jo was highly visible across campus at lectures, receptions, concerts, theatre productions, art exhibitions, sporting events, and, of course, baccalaureate and commencement exercises. In the office, she was especially adept at handling inquiries and concerns from parents, alumni, and a variety of other constituents, particularly when the President and other key administrators were away. In addition, she was responsible for scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements, reviewing documents, and serving the Board of Trustees to ensure that their needs were met in a timely fashion.

For Bettye Jo, Wooster was far more than a 9-to-5 experience, it was a lifetime investment. She would often arrive early and stay late, just to be sure that every important piece of business or correspondence had been properly handled that day.

The College became a family affair in 1988 when her son, Erich Riebe, enrolled at Wooster and went on to have a Hall-of-Fame Career with the Scot basketball team. Several years later, son Seth, joined the Wooster family and became a standout with the Scot football team. Her son Beau joined the staff in 2001 and has served as director of grounds since 2004.

Bettye Jo’s noteworthy commitment and compassion served the College well for three decades, but what family, friends and colleagues may remember most is her warm and welcoming smile, and her belief that life wasn’t meant to be taken too seriously.

“We have lost a dear friend,” said Sally Patton, senior advisor to the president for development and emeritus vice president for development. “Bettye Jo was able to handle good times and bad with grace and good humor. She also had a real talent for friendship. We are so lucky to have known her.”

College coal plant fuels sustainability debate on campus

Kris Fronzak

Editor in Chief

Prospective students of The College of Wooster would be forgiven for not knowing about one of our (literally) dirtiest secrets; it is not searchable on our website and isn’t on the route of campus tours.

Moreover, the advertising of “Wooster and Sustainability” on the website focuses only our “progress in becoming a sustainable campus” — not on the reality that is the on-campus coal-powered plant.

The College has inarguably made great strides in overall sustainability, with energy-efficient lighting, motion-activated light switches, better recycling and composting practices and improved methods of water conservation. According to Vice President for Finance and Business Laurie Stickelmaier, the College’s carbon dioxide footprint has already decreased from 20,000 to 11,000 tons per year as a result of these changes.

A portion of the reduced footprint is a result of the millions upon millions of dollars that have gone to our brand new Scot Center. This new gymnasium features an enormous solar roof and promises to be significantly more attractive, usable and environmentally friendly than the cramped, cave-like recesses of the old Physical Education Center.

Criticism toward the Scot Center remains, however. Matt Policastro, a current junior and the president of campus sustainability group “Greenhouse,” discussed the issue at length last week.

“The solar roof is a good symbol and it’s very visible, but the actual impact it’s making is just not enough. Shutting down the coal plant, especially in light of the recent rhetoric from the administration, would be a very real step in campus sustainability,” said Policastro.

The coal plant is particularly troublesome in a state that the Environmental Integrity Project has named one of the largest CO2 polluters in the U.S., behind only Texas and Florida. Ohio also ranks number one in the National Resources Defense Council’s “Toxic Twenty” states, outstripping Pennsylvania and Florida, our closest competitors, by a whopping 18,000 and 19,000 lbs. of CO2, respectively.

Unfortunately, shutting down the plant isn’t just a matter of the administration. The “Campus Facilities Master Plan” puts all large-scale updates and changes in the hands of the Board of Trustees. The plan is currently juggling about 25 initiatives, to be acted on within the time frame of five, 10, or even 15-20 years.

Trustees will weigh the merits of these initiatives in March and make final decisions in June. Until then, no significant upgrades are planned for the power plant.

“I’m a firm believer in sustainability and would like to see the plant converted sooner rather than later. But we have a lot of strong needs on this campus. It’s a matter of priorities and what needs to come first,” said Stickelmaier.

These needs, Stickelmaier explained, include renovations to Mateer Hall, the addition of a new pool and improvements to many residence halls. Other possibilities include altering the exterior of McGaw Chapel and converting the golf course into space for academics and residence halls.

Where does the coal plant stand in this wealth of possibilities? It’s difficult to say. Part of the issue is that the area’s alternative energy sources are inconsistent at best, and completely lacking or enormously expensive at worst. The College has looked into alternatives such as geothermal, thermal, biomass and wind, and decided that natural gas is the only feasible option.

“It’ll cost about 3.5 million dollars to convert the plant to natural gas, and the operating cost won’t be any higher,” said Stickelmaier.

One of the fears in a conversion to natural gas is the controversial issue of hydrologic “fracking,” which involves pumping water into rocks to expose deposits of shale gas deep beneath the Earth. It’s a highly efficient way to gather natural gas, but comes with a host of concerns.

“From an economic standpoint, fracking makes a lot of sense. The consternation has been all of the side effects. Toxins are pumped into shale, but since shale isn’t an absorbent rock, they leak everywhere. Contaminants have entered water supplies and caused health problems… There just hasn’t been enough rigorous scientific research done for it to be an environmentally friendly possibility,” said Policastro.

Stickelmaier and Director of Physical Plant Operations Doug Laditka have explained that the administration hopes to find a fracking solution before the plant is renovated — a distinct possibility, since the coal plant isn’t going anywhere in the near future.

“Developing the Scot Center and the new CoRE library are great improvements, but I think there’s a real disconnect between what students think is important on campus and what the administration does. These developments look good, but there are a lot of problems on campus that aren’t as visible, but just as real,” Policastro said.

Swimming on the rise, Teams combine to win nine out of 10

Swimming on the rise, Teams combine to win nine out of 10

Travis Marmon

Sports Editor

The College’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have started 2012 strongly, with the women winning all five of their meets and the men winning four out of five.

On Jan. 13, the teams traveled to Hiram, Ohio to take on Hiram College. The Fighting Scots took 20 of the 26 total events at the meet. The men won 122-64 behind wins by Peter Parisi ’13 in the 50 and 100 freestyles; Alex LaJoie ’13 in the 400 IM and 200 backstroke; Kevin Audet ’12 in the 200 freestyle; Peter Hause ’13 in the 200 butterfly; and Brian Maddock ’15 in the 200 backstroke.

Eight women’s swimmers finished in first place in their 154-70 victory. Kara Markham ’14 won the 400 and 800 freestyles. Other wins included Clare Walsh ’13 in the 50 freestyle; Samira El-Adawy ’13 in the 400 IM, Morgan Hughes ’15 in the 100 freestyle; Kate Hunt ’13 in the 200 freestyle; Melissa Haug ’12 in the 200 butterfly and Priscilla Haug ’12 in the 200 backstroke.

The teams split with Ohio Wesleyan University on Jan. 14, with the men losing 122-95 and the women winning 154-63. However, both teams enjoyed dominant victories over Defiance College in the same evening. The men took down Defiance 164-34 and the women won 177-28.

Parisi led the men with wins in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 breaststroke. The women had victories from Hughes in the 50 free; Melissa Haug in the 100 free, Walsh in the 200 free; Hunt in the 100 butterfly and Adriana Hoak ’14 in the one-meter dive.

Last Friday against the University of Mount Union, the Scot men defeated the Purple Raiders 150-121, led by three individual wins from Maddock, who took the 100 yard backstroke, 200 yard backstroke and 400 IM. Parisi, LaJoie and Imre Namath ’13 won two events each.

The women earned a decisive 185-86 win with two first-place finishes each from Mariah McGovern ’14 (100 backstroke and 500 freestyle), Hughes (50 freestyle and 500 butterfly) and Hunt (100 freestyle and 200 butterfly). The women won all four relay events as well.

On Saturday, Wooster took on Malone University at Timken Natatorium. The women won all but one event, the 200 yard IM, which featured Melissa Haug in second place, Rebecca Haug ’12 in third and Kaitlyn Fries ’15 in fourth. The Scots won 154-17.

The men earned a 151.5-118.5 victory over the Pioneers behind two wins each from Parisi and LaJoie as well as Namath’s victory in the 100 free.

The Fighting Scots will travel to Grove City, Pa. tomorrow to take on Grove City College in a dual meet at 1 p.m.

Library renovations fail to satisfy

Library renovations fail to satisfy

Anne Rosencrans

There are two types of people on this campus: library enthusiasts and everyone else. The typical library enthusiast is identified by: 1. loyalty to a certain “spot” in the library, 2. certainty that “their” library (Gault, Andrews or Timken) is superior to the other libraries, and 3. a proclaimed inability to do work at any other campus location.

The library enthusiast is a product of the personality, spirit and warmth of the Wooster community.  The warm colors and open spaces in each library have always reflected those values by making the library as welcoming as possible. Even the writing center has a home-like feel, with a fireplace, chandelier and couches.

As a self-proclaimed library enthusiast, I could barely contain my excitement when I heard about the renovation of the first floor of Andrews Library into the Collaborative Research Environment (CoRE). I loved the idea of having a space for student collaboration and the idea of replacing some of the older, unused spaces in the back of Andrews Library with new spaces. I imagined a renovation similar to the new Scot Center, with warm colors and bright accents, and I imagined comfortable new furniture without dirty jokes scratched into the tables. To say that CoRE did not live up to my expectations would be an understatement.

I entered CoRE for the first time through Gault Library. As the green carpet and bright atmosphere of Gault gave way to the gray walls, artificial light and narrow hallways of CoRE, I felt a knot form in the pit of my stomach. The metal accents and high-set windows of the study rooms made the space feel more like the core of the earth than the core of a school curriculum.

I was leading a campus tour at the time. Even though the family was impressed by the state-of-the-art technology at hand, nothing could disguise how painfully foreign the area was in contrast to the rest of the library. Although I explained that the rest of the first floor would likely be renovated in the future, I remained as perplexed by the new facility as they were.

The design of CoRE seems odd to me. A facility that is made to encourage group sharing, group collaboration and student performance should make students feel as comfortable and open as possible. Instead, the extra walls, even those made of glass, give the area a closed-off feeling. I have heard students describe the paint and carpet colors as “cold,” “gloomy” and even “sterile.” The facility is a sharp contrast to the Scot Center or Lowry Pit, where warm colors, comfort, school pride and inclusion of natural light were priorities during renovations (Lowry Pit was redone in January 2010).

I am sure that CoRE will be a wonderful place for students to use the best technology available, receive help on assignments, practice presentations and collaborate with each other. At the same time, I can’t help but wonder whether the collaboration can be successful if students do not feel fully comfortable in the space. As impressive as the facility may be, you must excuse me if I choose to stay in Gault Library from now on.